Whoah, I didn't know astrology was that integral to Hinduism. I'd vaguely heard the two in relation to each other ... that Hindus tended to lean towards that sort of thing, but I didn't know it was actually sponsored by the clergy.
I don't know how the Catholic church feels about Noah's Ark. I know plenty of fundamentalists believe the whole damned book, but Catholics pick out a much more mixed approach.
Adam and Eve are just metaphor, and bits of Genesis are, as well. I'm not sure where they draw the line, though. I'm sure they believe in the whole part about Moses, with the flight out of Egypt, but I don't know about before that.
I'll have to go ask a priest. I've been meaning to go to my old Catholic church and officially have myself struck from the rolls, one of these months. I was never a believer, but I was forced to go to mass every week. I never made my Confirmation (a ritual you go through when you're 18, to officially become an adult member of the church), but I was baptized, so I'm sure they still list me as a member of the church.
What your parents are saying almost seems sort of like the Baha'i religion. They sell that sort of crap that there's a little bit of truth in all religions. I prefer an alternative answer to the wide variance between religious beliefs. They're obviously contradictory, and they can't all be right. But they can all be wrong.
I'm not so sure about your grandfather's statement. From what (admittedly little) I know about Hinduism, there's only one god ... just with many, many faces. *shrug*
Meh, that sucks that your parents still forced you to go to temple. I was vaguely cognizant of not believing in God, when I was 5 or 6. I have vague memories of kindergarten CCD (Catholic Sunday school) ... mostly of the tables in that specific room ... and I have memories of thinking that the stories they were telling us were silly and even less believable than the ones in Grimm's Fairy Tales.
I blurted out to my mother that I didn't believe in any of it, when I was 14 or 15. It was a discussion of some sort about how much longer I had to go to CCD. I was told I had to go until I made my Confirmation. I said that I had no intention of making my Confirmation, since I didn't believe any of the nonsense.
Fortunately, my parents eased up a bit, after that. I suspect that may have been my father's doing.
I have some suspicions about him. He went to seminary to become a Catholic priest. He dropped out after a few years and went to a secular college. I've heard from people like Dan Barker about how many atheists there are, stuck in the clergy. I like to think that my father learned too much about the history of the church and the formation of the Bible, and lost his faith before he could become ordained.
I'm not that wild about the Dawkins scale. He puts Agnosticism in a line with theism and atheism. It's not a line; it's a matrix. I find this to be a much more useful way of thinking about the situation: http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/09/25/8419/
Right there with you, on the children. I think I would try to replicate my childhood, which turned me into a young skeptic.
I was buried in natural science books, even before I was in kindergarten. My parents purchased a bunch of National Geographic children's books for my older brother, and I got into them while I was still learning to read, around the age of 3 or so. Early exposure to various mythologies throughout the millennia will also be high on the list.
Also, an early exposure to magic might have helped me along. Once I saw a woman get sawn in half and put back together, the miracles in the Bible were relatively tame. Not like I'm going to saw their mother in half for their birthday parties (although I could do it, if I spent a few hundred on props), but a bit of exposure to obviously fake magic of that sort, at a young age, couldn't hurt my kids.
Cool. It's interesting to see other people come out of completely different religions. Sounds like it was some sort of inverse Pascal's Wager that snapped you out of it.
Or at least it's one of the massive failings of Pascal's Wager, sort of. What about all of those other religions. If someone is capable of looking at their own religion as an outsider sees it, their religion can't last long.
I think that may be part of what prevented me from ever accepting Catholic mythology. I was exposed to a lot of Greek and Norse mythology, as a child. So, despite being immersed in weekly Catholic nonsense, I could never believe in any of it.
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